What’s stopping drones from soaring?
A four-year ban and a regulatory maze compounded by the absence of sound backend systems have been the bane of the drone industry in India. Can the new norms fix this?
Nikhil Varma
Nikhil Varma
17 February 2021
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Imagine being asked to have mandatory Aadhaar linkages for carrying out any financial transaction in India and discovering that though the rules are in place, the backend systems for actually linking the accounts are not functional.

It’s an analogy that the co-founder of a drone startup uses to explain his frustration with the way the sector is run in India. This, he says, is at the heart of a host of issues that the drone industry faces in the country. It is akin to being stuck in the age of demand drafts and cheques, when the world has moved on to digital payments. Guaranteed to put anyone off.

Kishore Jonnalagadda knows this first-hand. He endured years of pain as the co-founder of Bengaluru-based Drone Aerospace Systems, a company that was one of the early entrants in the field of drones in India nearly 12 years ago.

A four-year ban imposed by the government of India on drones in 2014 and the regulatory confusion that followed came as the proverbial

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